Pike II

A Pike II missile alongside an M23 Pikeman launcher

Pike II is the name of a 40mm laser-guided rocket used by the United States Armed Forces and other militaries around the world. Based around a shortened, more advanced version of Raytheon Technologies Corporation’s laser-guided Pike missile, the Pike II is even more capable than its predecessor despite its smaller size.

Weapon Designation:Pike II
Type:Guided Missile
Place of Origin:United States
Production History:
Designed:2023-25
Manufacturer:Raytheon Technologies Corporation
Produced:2025-present
Specifications:
Weight:1.05 lbs (0.476 kg)
Length:10.3 in (262 mm)
Guidance:Semi-active laser seeker
Effective Range:2,000 m (2,187 yd)

Background:

In the 2020s, the United States was looking to upgrade its ability to improve small-unit firepower options and looked to Raytheon’s Pike missile with significant interest. Although Pike was a successful design that could be fired from the existing M320A1 grenade launcher, the US also wanted a multi-shot launcher that could engage targets more rapidly than a single-shot underbarrel launcher.

The first respondent to the request was Milkor (Pty) Ltd of South Africa, who offered a lengthened version of their MGL revolver-type grenade launcher. After the US rejected this design for being too large and heavy, both the Department of Defense and Milkor realized that no multi-shot launcher for the existing 16.8-inch Pike missile could be designed within acceptable weight limitations. Milkor therefore began working in cooperation with Raytheon to design a shorter version of Pike with equal or greater capabilities and a launcher capable of firing it. The results were the Pike II missile and the M23 Pikeman launcher, which were both adopted in 2025.

Design:

The Pike II missile is most noticeably different from the original Pike design in its shorter length. However, improvements in rocket technology and smaller electronic components as well as the reduction in weight from the decrease in overall length allows Pike II to have the same 2,000 meter range as the original. The missile uses a two-stage propulsion system; the first is very similar to conventional 40mm grenades and uses a low-pressure charge to propel the missile from the launcher. The second stage is the main motor, which ignites after pproximately thirty feet of flight. Pike II also comes with multiple available warheads, including high-explosive fragmentation, a high-explosive dual-purpose warhead which provides extra armor penetration at some cost to blast and fragmentation radius, and smoke for marking targets beyond the system’s capability to destroy. Different fuses are also available, including a small pop-out stand-off fuse which gives Pike II improved penetration against barriers and cover as well as a unique airburst fuse. When the airburst fuse is used, Pike II homes in on the laser dot as usual and as it approaches, the missile veers off course to explode either above or next to the target, depending on the operator’s settings. This allows the attacking of targets in defilade, not only under vertical cover like a low wall or trench, but also targets around corners.

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